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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Stony Plain Records artist: Duke Robillard - The Acoustic Blues & Roots of Duke Robillard - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, The Acoustic Blues & Roots of Duke Robillard (September 25, 2015), by Duke Robillard and I personally think that's it's his best outing in years. This terrific exploration into American music begins with a sensitive acoustic guitar rendition of Stephen Fosters' My Old Kentucky Home. Very nice intro. Early blues track, Big Bill Broonzy's Big Bill Blues features Robillard on vocal and guitar and Matt McCabe on piano with just the right amount of swing. Very nice! Robillard original, I Miss My Baby In My Arms, has a really nice feel featuring Billy Novick on clarinet. His sensitivity on the stick contrasted against McCabes delicate piano work is perfect. Jimmie Rodger's, Jimmie's Texas Blues features Robillard on vocal (and yodeling), resonator and Mary Flowers on slide. An easy country blues track it has a very nice pace and warm feel. Novick is back on Robillard penned, Backyard Paradise, and it has a deliberate pace and Robillard's vocals are easy and smooth. Sunny Crownover takes the lead vocal on Robbie Robertson's waltz, Evangeline. With a pure earth feel, Robllard adds a number of stringed instruments and Jon Ross, the mandolin. Mary Flower on slide and Russell Gusetti on concertina give this track a real Appalachian feel. Excellent! Eric Moore's Left Handed is a solid blues number. Robillard's vocals are solid, acoustic guitar soloing is strong, McCabe hits a clear line on piano and Jerry Portnoy adds lush harp lines. Very cool! Eddie Miller's I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water has a more stripped down feel than what we customarily hear of this track and I really like it. Robillard's vocals are super and with only a uke rhythm and clean articulate acoustic soloing, it clearly stands out as one of the best of the release. There is also a cool solo on what sounds like a bowed bass. Very nice! Crowd favorite, I'm Gonna Buy Me A Dog (To Take Me The Place Of You), is another straight up blues number again featuring Portnoy on harp and McCabe on piano. Given a chance to take a nice walk, Portnoy does it with style. Nashville Blues is a vocal duet with Crownover and a bit of Piedmont guitar accompaniment. Mary Flower takes a real sweet lap slide solo on this number to close it out. WC Handy's Saint Louis Blues gets a real nice tribute with Novick on clarinet and Robillard on vocal. Robillard plays one of his coolest guitar solos on this number with simple and straight forward acoustic drive. Very cool! Hudson Whittaker's What Is It That Tastes Like Gravy? has a cool New Orleans sound with fine clarinet work by Novick. McCabe also takes the floor with strong, stylized piano riffs. Sleepy John Estes' Someday Baby (Trouble No More), keeps much of the primitive styling with Doug James on harp and Robillard on guitar and mandolin. One of my favorite tracks on the release, Hank Williams' Let's Turn Back The Years with traditional tex mex waltz like styling. Cool slide work from Flower and mando and guitar work by Robillard gives this track real traction. Robert Lockwood's Take A Little Walk With Me is a terrific track and McCabe really dresses the piano. Robillard's vocals work nicely with this track and placing electrifying acoustic guitar riffs throughout gives the track a more contemporary feel. Maria Muldaur takes the lead vocal on Santa Claus Blues and does an absolutely excellent job. Doug James on Bari and Dave Babcock on tenor really get this track swinging and Robillard plays some wonderfully wild jazz riffs along with Mark Teixeira on drums giving the track extra kick. Meade Lux Lewis' Profoundly Blue is a spectacular showcase for Robillard on acoustic guitar accompanied by Jay McShann on an extended piano solo. Excellent! Wrapping the release is Ukulele Swing featuring Robilard on a short little Uke ditty. This is a cool little track and a super conclusion to a very strong showing!

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